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ethics

[eth-iks]
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noun
  1. (used with a singular or plural verb) a system of moral principles: the ethics of a culture.
  2. (used with a plural verb) the rules of conduct recognized in respect to a particular class of human actions or a particular group, culture, etc.: medical ethics; Christian ethics.
  3. (used with a plural verb) moral principles, as of an individual: His ethics forbade betrayal of a confidence.
  4. (used with a singular verb) that branch of philosophy dealing with values relating to human conduct, with respect to the rightness and wrongness of certain actions and to the goodness and badness of the motives and ends of such actions.Compare axiological ethics, deontological ethics.
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Origin of ethics

1400–50; late Middle English ethic + -s3, modeled on Greek tà ēthiká, neuter plural

Synonyms

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2. See moral.

ethic

[eth-ik]
noun
  1. the body of moral principles or values governing or distinctive of a particular culture or group: the Christian ethic; the tribal ethic of the Zuni.
  2. a complex of moral precepts held or rules of conduct followed by an individual: a personal ethic.
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Origin of ethic

1350–1400; Middle English ethic, etic < Latin ēthicus < Greek ēthikós, equivalent to êth(os) ethos + -ikos -ic
Related formsnon·eth·ic, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words

honestymoresgoodnessintegrityethicconductidealimperativeconventionethosconsciencebeliefnaturepracticestandarddecencymoralityvaluehonorcriteria

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British Dictionary definitions for ethics

ethics

noun
  1. (functioning as singular) the philosophical study of the moral value of human conduct and of the rules and principles that ought to govern it; moral philosophySee also meta-ethics
  2. (functioning as plural) a social, religious, or civil code of behaviour considered correct, esp that of a particular group, profession, or individual
  3. (functioning as plural) the moral fitness of a decision, course of action, etche doubted the ethics of their verdict
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Derived Formsethicist, noun

ethic

noun
  1. a moral principle or set of moral values held by an individual or groupthe Puritan ethic
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adjective
  1. another word for ethical
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See also ethics

Word Origin

C15: from Latin ēthicus, from Greek éthikos, from ēthos custom; see ethos
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for ethics

n.

"the science of morals," c.1600, plural of Middle English ethik "study of morals" (see ethic). The word also traces to Ta Ethika, title of Aristotle's work.

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ethic

n.

late 14c., ethik "study of morals," from Old French etique (13c.), from Late Latin ethica, from Greek ethike philosophia "moral philosophy," fem. of ethikos "ethical," from ethos "moral character," related to ethos "custom" (see ethos). Meaning "a person's moral principles" is attested from 1650s.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

ethics in Medicine

ethics

(ĕthĭks)
n.
  1. The rules or standards governing the conduct of a person or the conduct of the members of a profession.
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The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

ethics in Culture

ethics

The branch of philosophy that deals with morality. Ethics is concerned with distinguishing between good and evil in the world, between right and wrong human actions, and between virtuous and nonvirtuous characteristics of people.

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The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.